Harv currently writes for Abstract Sports, the Sports History Network, and the magazine Gridiron Greats. Harv wrote the published book "Pro Football's Most Passionate Fans" and as a professional writer has had articles published in an array of sports publications.
NFL Week 13 Short Takes
This week members of the 1972 Miami Dolphins once again popped a bottle of champagne to celebrate the fact that another team challenging their historic undefeated season capped off by a Super Bowl victory remains untouched. That’s because The Washington Football Team upset the previously undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field handing the Black and Gold their first loss of the 2020 season after winning the first 11.
It’s been a crazy season thus far in the NFL with the latest incident seeing Baltimore’s Dez Bryant being pulled from playing in the Ravens’ game with Dallas last Tuesday just 30 minutes before kickoff because of a positive COVID-19 test result. With week 13’s results, the playoff picture in the AFC and NFC became a bit more convoluted so the roundup of games begins.
Baltimore 34 / Dallas 17. Leading up this game the Ravens had experienced the worst case in any sport this year of having a COVID-19 breakout. They finally got most of their players back on the field for a much-needed victory after three straight defeats and Baltimore made it look easy. Next up are the red-hot Browns on Monday night that should be a doozy.
New England 45 / Los Angeles Chargers 0. Ouch. Not just losing by 45 but not scoring? Don’t ever doubt the Patriots as long as Bill Belichick is the coach.
Miami 19 / Cincinnati 7. The Dolphins keep their playoff and division title hopes alive as Bengals fans contemplate what could have been if Joe Burrows did not suffer a season-ending injury. As for Miami, it went back to Tua Tagovailoa who turned in a solid performance with 296 yards passing and one touchdown.
Cleveland 41 / Tennessee 35. Another opportunity for the Browns to prove their worth and succeeded. This is a team to keep your eye on and consider armed and dangerous.
Detroit 34 / Chicago 30. The Bears blew this one and, on the radio,, I heard how angry Bears nation is. The question is when will they ever find their franchise quarterback?
Indianapolis 26 / Houston 20. The Texans are playing much better than they were at the start of the season but how good really are the Colts? We’ll find out when they play the Steelers soon.
Minnesota 27 / Jacksonville 24. Another week another loss for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Notch this one up as their 11th in a row. They had a chance to win this one taking it into overtime, but alas, they lose again. With the win, the Vikes evened up their record at six wins and still have a shot at a wildcard.
Las Vegas 31 / NY Jets 28. Like the Jaguars, the Jets can’t buy a victory. They had this one wrapped up until the Raiders had a last-second shot at winning the game with a touchdown. Former Jets defensive coordinator Greg Williams dialed up an all-out blitz on David Carr who simply heaved a pass downfield for a wide-open Henry Ruggs who beat rookie Lamar Jackson easily for the 46-yard romp and the game-winner.
New Orleans 21 / Atlanta 16. No Drew Brees...no problem With Taysom Hill taking over for the injured Brees, the Saints just keep on winning. In fact, in the last two years when Brees has been sidelined, his team has not lost compiling eight wins along the way. Matt Ryan was on the radio this past week indicating he’s far from done and not retiring either returning to the Falcons in 2021 or elsewhere.
Los Angeles Rams 38 / Arizona 28. Every time Kyler Murray and his Cardinals have a chance to make a statement and stay in the playoff race, they blow it. Now with three losses in a row, Arizona is fading. The 49ers are climbing out of the basement in the NFC West and are just one game from catching Murray and his Cards. Murray’s numbers are dropping as well going 21 of 39 in this game for just 179 yards and he threw one pick.
New York Giants 17 / Seattle 12. The upset of the day and perhaps the year. Going into Seattle the Giants’ only advantage was that the “12th Man” was not present. Still, this is a game they were not supposed to win but they did. Seattle now is in a tie with the Rams but the tiebreaker for the division goes to Los Angeles. Those two teams have a showdown in California on December 27.
Green Bay 30 / Philadelphia 16. The Carson Wentz era is over for at least this season. Benched in this game for rookie Jalen Hurts, head coach Doug Pederson was fighting this decision tooth and nail during the week and still has not fully committed to Hurts taking over. But in relief, the rookie threw just 12 passes completing five and finishing with one touchdown, one interception, and 109 yards. But Wentz is probably a shot player and the Eagles are in complete disarray. Four losses in a row have dropped their record to 3-8-1 with games against New Orleans at home, the Cardinals on the road, Dallas on the road, and a season finale with The Washington Football Team yet to come.
Kansas City 22 / Denver 16. The Broncos were game but didn’t have the game to topple the world champs. The Chiefs and Steelers will go down to the wire for the #1 seed in the AFC.
Washington 23 / Pittsburgh 17. The Steelers played three games in just over two weeks. Going undefeated in the NFL is so rare only the aforementioned Dolphins accomplished the feat and then the Patriots from a few years back but New England, unlike Don Shula’s Dolphins, lost in the Super Bowl. The Steelers were bound to lose at some point and I thought it would be the Buffalo game, but it is what it is. They are being criticized for losing but lost in that discussion is the fact they have lost just ONE game all season. With a 5-7 record, Washington is in a first-place tie with the Giants.
Buffalo 34 / San Francisco 24. It’s highly unlikely the Bills will see the Patriots storm back and take the AFC East. Three games separate these two teams and the Pats will be in Los Angeles for a matchup with the Rams on Thursday, then play in Miami before hosting the Bills in what might be a division clincher for Buffalo but that depends on what Miami does as the Dolphins are just a game behind with games remaining against Kansas City, New England, the Raiders, and then a season finale against this Buffalo team which seems to be the game that will decide the division winner.